By Meagan Ramsay
On the heels of rising costs and falling attendance, the Christmas banquet tradition comes to an end this year after careful consideration and debate by Associated Student Council (ASC) members.
“We know students love the banquet and a lot of people have been pushing back on us already. We’ve taken that into consideration,” VP of Social Life Mitch Johnson said. “It wasn’t a split decision.”
The first factor in the decision was price, which has always been an issue for students. Last year tickets were $24 and $12 with a student discount card, which was higher than in years past.
Location was another issue that arose when contemplating the banquet. Only one entrance into Chalfant would be accessible, as one side would be blocked by construction of the Student Life Center. The main entrance would be blocked off by Sodexo workers catering the event.
“Location wise, Chalfant is horrid right now. We would have one door to go in and out, so that would be a nightmare,” Johnson said.
In addition, the banquet has typically been viewed as an exclusive event; meaning tickets were not available after the maximum number was sold. Johnson also noted that many students only went to the banquet if they had a date.
“You could go whether or not you had a date, but if you went without one it seemed really awkward and noticeable. So I never went,” junior Emily Dillard said.
Whether it was too expensive or too exclusive, there was a significant decline in ticket sales over the past two years.
Previously, the banquet sold out year after year, according to Student Body President Kyle Lowry. Roughly 500 students attended last year, but 1,000 tickets were available.
“For those who [have gone] to the banquet, it is really unsettling to think about there being no banquet,” Lowry said. “What you have to keep in mind is that a majority of students have not been to the banquet. So that’s the mindset we’re coming from.”
In the meantime, ASC is working on another event to fill the void of the banquet. Johnson and Lowry want it to be something that appeals to the entire student body, which may occur through separate class gatherings or a schoolwide social.
As for next year, the “higher ups” of Olivet want to have a banquet in the new Student Life Center, Johnson said. The factors such as price, location and attendance made the cancellation a clear decision, considering this year would have been the final banquet in Chalfant.
“Because of that, even if we did the banquet this year it would be our last anyway,” Johnson said. “Last year’s banquet went really well even with the low turnout. So we already ended on a good note.”